Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by zobmiedown » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:18 pm

Yes I did get the lees push thru sizing and lube kit for my single stage press. I have been reading the Lyman bullet casting manual I got. Made me go to home depot and get a face shield and some heavy duty welding gloves. At this point I am just reading the book and getting familiar with the process. I have a coffee can of recovered lead from the back stop where I go shooting as well as another 100lbs of lead weights from my wife's equestrian days and another 300 lbs my father in laws friend has that he is going to pick up and bring me the next time he visits so I should be casting for a long long time..

I welcome all advice any one has for a new bullet caster.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by BullOnParade » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:41 pm

Is it too late to return the welding gloves? I use a pair of mechanix gloves, and those tend to be overkill. A cotton work glove is adequate, leather palmed can be nice. Lead splatter isnt hot enough to need welding gloves, I think they'll be too cumbersome 90% of the time. If the money spent, time, and prep item are worth it to you, then keep them, but I don't think they're necessary.

ETA: I just framed a "wall" on my balcony and hung a clear plastic drop sheet from the dollar store. It is now comfortable enough to stand outside in a long sleeved shirt. Google says it is -13C (~8F) here. I've just extended my casting season through the winter, and not just spring and fall. :awesome:
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by chills1994 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:38 am

When I am rendering wheelweights into useable lead ingots via a dutch oven on a propane fueled turkey fryer, yeah, i get all decked out with the welding gloves, faceshield and welding jacket.

When I am casting boolits, then I go to a thinner leather glove, safety glasses and still the same welding jacket.

For a while there I was using a brass hammer to knock the sprue plate over. Then I started paying attention to the puddle on top of the sprue plate. When it was still real hot, it would have a mirror like appearance, and maybe a little jiggle to it. The moment that it dulled over, I learned, was the exact instant I could push the sprue plate/cutter over with my gloved thumb.

Then I would lift the mould up over the top of the RCBS pot, tip the mould to about 90 degrees and then the lead sprue would slide right off into the pot. I would have a 20mm ammo can filled with water sitting on a chair. I would open the mould, shake it a little bit, and the boolits would drop into the water. Sometimes there were stubborn boolits, so I would just bounce the handles against the lip of the ammo can. They would drop then.

I used two cycle motor oil which happened to be green in color to lube the underside of the sprue plate. I used copper anti-seize on all the threads before first using a mould. Like the screws which bolt the mould to the handles.

I'd preheat my moulds by carefully dangling them into the melt where the front corner would be about a half inch down into the molten lead. These were the Lyman steel/cast iron moulds.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by zobmiedown » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:42 am

Thank for the advice gentlemen. I have lots of other gloves but chose to get the welding ones because the provide protection farther up my fore arms than any of the rappelling, work , mechanics or motocross gloves I already had. Yes they are a little bulky but fit better than some of the other options I had. and they were only $10 so I grabbed them. That and I want to start learning to weld as well so I justified it that way too. If I find them to be over kill I can always go with a different glove.

I like the idea of dropping the bullets into an ammo can of water. I have a surplus of ammo cans so I can dedicate one for that. My question is does this compromise the bullet in any way by cooling it to fast?

According to my math my 300 lbs of lead will make 13291 158 grain 38/357 bullets. So I should be good on lead for a while.
Last edited by zobmiedown on Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by cricketdave » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:48 am

When casting bullets I first warm the mold by letting it set on the casting pot just behind the melting lead. I keep a old narrow pan next to the pot to catch sprues and any extra run off if i'm sloppy. Every so often I will use a pair of hemostats to pick up sprues and add back to the pot. Then I use the wood handle from a old hammer to open the sprue cut plate and a tap on the screw joint to bump any sticky bullets out into a old pie tin. I don't wear gloves or a heavy coat or anything, in 30yrs i haven't needed them. If your careful at all there should not be lead spattering anywhere. No need to cool the bullets drastically in water or anything by the time you pop them out of the mold they will be cool enough not to deform. I usually keep a couple of ingots on the top back edge of the pot while casting and just slip them in as needed. After I've made 5 or 600 bullets I then move to the sizer and lube die. After sizing and lube I put the bullets stacked in a box and moved to storage or next to the loader if I'm loading that day.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by zobmiedown » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:29 am

That sounds like a good system. I commandeered all my wife's old cooking sheets and got her nice new ones to replace them. I even measure powder over one to catch and spillage and will probably use one under my melting pot just to keep things nice and neat. My plan s to do the melting and casting out side on an old work bench I just rebuilt that is 8 feet wide by 5 feet deep. That way ventilation and such are not an issue. I am not comfortable melting lead in the same area I have powder, primers, propane tanks, and gasoline stored in. I know I may sound paranoid to some but I think being over cautious is the better option vs injury. I do have good medical coverage but I strive to not have to use it . :lol:
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Makarov » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:59 pm

chills1994 wrote:
Makarov wrote:Ordered a GS Custom Primer Pocket Swager for my Dillon 650 yesterday. I've got a separate toolhead for prepping (up until now I've been using my trusty 550), with a Dillon 1200 casetrimmer, and when I get the spirit to finally set it up properly, I should be processing .mil 5.56 brass like a mofo... :clap:
Let us know, please, how that GS custom primer de-crimper/swager doodad works for the Dillon 650. If you give it your seal of approval, then I will spring for one too and head over to Hi-Tech in Wentzville, MO and buy a bunch of once fired .mil brass.
I'll do that, and since we're actually 3 guys buying one each, it won't be just my opinion either.
We've heard that they wreak havoc on the original shell plate, but time will show. GS Customs sells their own version that they claim is better, so it might be that I(we) get those.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by brothaman » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:17 am

Imma say I got the load for my 360 Kit gun figured out.

110 XTPs over 5gr of HP-38. Standard pressure and under max.

5 shot groups at 10 yrds supported. Bottom
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Last 4 shots I had at 10 yrds supported.
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Those were my best groups. I was keeping in an inch or less, though. Off hand shooting was very good, too. Very manageable recoil in a 15oz gun. Feels like shooting high pressure in my S&W 64.

Now I need to get me some of those 140 gr lead full Wad Cutters for some .35 cal small game hunting.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by MPMalloy » Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:55 am

Hey Everyone:

Back when I was married I reloaded all the time. I had a nice RockChucker setup. That was many years ago. Moving forward to today, I have a Lee handloader and I just broke her in yesterday by depriming a couple hundred cases of .40 S&W. I would deprime a few dozen and the read a couple pages of this thread. I am going to see if I can come up with some room in the prep room and put a reloading bench in. I am looking at a Lee turret press. I will only be loading .40 S&W. Thank you everyone for motivating me...:)

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by majorhavoc » Fri May 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Consider this a bit of a deal alert. The Lee Challenger Breech Lock Challenger kit is selling for $115 on Amazon at the moment, ships free with Amazon Prime. This kit has been bouncing around $125 to $130 lately and it rarely goes for less than $120 these days.

http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Precision-Bre ... +press+kit

If you know someone looking to get into this hobby, or are yourself haunting this thread thinking about the testing the reloading waters, I can vouch for this product. Nothing's the best quality, but it's an outstanding value. If you're interested, my Amazon review of this reloading kit is currently listed second if you filter by "most helpful first".

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by eugene » Fri May 02, 2014 8:33 pm

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Sledgecrowbar » Fri May 02, 2014 8:59 pm

majorhavoc wrote:Consider this a bit of a deal alert. The Lee Challenger Breech Lock Challenger kit is selling for $115 on Amazon at the moment, ships free with Amazon Prime. This kit has been bouncing around $125 to $130 lately and it rarely goes for less than $120 these days.

http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Precision-Bre ... +press+kit

If you know someone looking to get into this hobby, or are yourself haunting this thread thinking about the testing the reloading waters, I can vouch for this product. Nothing's the best quality, but it's an outstanding value. If you're interested, my Amazon review of this reloading kit is currently listed second if you filter by "most helpful first".

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Is this a new kit? I bought the Ergo Prime tool separately when I got my 50th Anniversary kit and spent $100 for the kit and $29 for the tool, and neither came with shellholders. When I looked at that image, I thought for sure someone was pulling a fast one because of those pieces being in the pic and it being $115 when I know I bought the kit for $100 not even two years ago. This is a good deal. It shows the pieces to prime on the press are also included if you decide you want to do that. I bought the Ergo Prime because people said it lets you feel the crimp happening, and I needed to learn how to make consistent ammo easily.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by majorhavoc » Fri May 02, 2014 9:28 pm

Sledgecrowbar wrote:
Is this a new kit? I bought the Ergo Prime tool separately when I got my 50th Anniversary kit and spent $100 for the kit and $29 for the tool, and neither came with shellholders. When I looked at that image, I thought for sure someone was pulling a fast one because of those pieces being in the pic and it being $115 when I know I bought the kit for $100 not even two years ago. This is a good deal. It shows the pieces to prime on the press are also included if you decide you want to do that. I bought the Ergo Prime because people said it lets you feel the crimp happening, and I needed to learn how to make consistent ammo easily.
No, this isn't a new kit. But it's not the 50th Anniversary kit which typically sells for about the same price and substitutes the "Easy Prime" press-mounted priming system for the Challenger's "AutoPrime" handheld priming tool.

Sounds like you discovered that a decent handheld tool is a far more practical, reliable way to prime cases than press-mounted alternatives. Plus as I point out in my Amazon review, the Challenger kit comes with a full set of priming tool shell holders for just about every caliber under the sun. The dead reliable handheld AutoPrime tool and the included set of priming tool shell holders are the principal reasons why I think the Challenger kit is a much better buy than the 50th Anniversary kit.

Yes, the Challenger kit does include those two metal pieces that slip into the press ram and allow you to seat primers on the press. But the handheld AutoPrime tool works so well that I can't imagine too many people will want to bother with the mechanical complexity (and as you point out, the lack of tactile feedback when dealing with crimped primer pockets) to switch over to the "Easy Prime" system.

In practice the only thing those two pieces of metal do in the Challenger kit is channel the spent primer into the collection bin at the base of the press.

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by chrispy » Fri May 09, 2014 5:17 pm

I had a win today, I have an old RCBS Rockchucker press, and the priming arm fell apart. I went to their website, and contacted RCBS direct. They have honored their press by supplying a new primer arm at no charge. Love their warranty.

I am pretty chuffed! As I bought this press for the large die opening, I can now get back to reloading my 577 Snider!!

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by BullOnParade » Fri May 16, 2014 2:57 pm

Cross posted from firearm chat for mass dissemination:

So a guy at my club has asked me to do some machining work for him to fix up an old reloading press. He's a bit of a cheap bugger, so I'm thinking about charging him in primers or powder.

I already gave him a free job last summer, it was an easy and unique job and I was happy to help give a real answer to a real problem. I was also not busy at work, so I got to work on it while I was getting paid to do nothing.

So what would you value an hour of machining time at? I was thinking 500 primers, or maybe a half pound of powder. I have a habit of under valuing my time and skills. But I don't want to leave him feeling ripped off.

Given current climate and value of components, what would you think fair?
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by SRO1911 » Fri May 16, 2014 8:19 pm

No such thing as just an hour of machine time,

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Sledgecrowbar » Fri May 16, 2014 11:45 pm

I agree with above, 1k primers or a full pound of powder, at the least. That's US$30-35 down here, not sure what it is up there. Be kind by all means, but realize that he has agreed to pay you to do a job, regardless of how tight he might be with money, so don't undersell yourself. You set a standard for working for too little and you'll end up doing it forever.

If it really is one hour of effort on your part, I'd be happy to trade a box of primers or a bottle of powder for a simple but unique piece that I just can't get anywhere else, and that's what machinists and fabricators do.

Also, nothing ever takes me an hour in the shop, either. It's two evenings, and the first one is a very late night, with the second one coming in at "finished with time to eat dinner and have a beer, but not much else". I might have too-high standards for tolerances for the intended purpose, but I will always make something too well rather than not well enough, even if it's just lightly chamfering sharp edges with a file. Such is the nature of machinists.

I have totally done stuff like that for the equivalent of thirty bucks, though, and not regretted it.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Identity Thief » Tue May 20, 2014 11:01 am

Reloading pistol brass is a pain in the ass. Mostly due to the trimming of the brass and how it's not as easy as trimming rifle brass.

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That is my Wilson case trimmer - quite possibly one of the most accurate and best case trimmers for precision reloading. The round cylinders are the individual holders for various calibers.

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The "pain in the ass" part is that you have to tamp the shell into the cylinder with a hammer and punch. This takes time. This bruises thumbs. This makes noise. This is not necessary.

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As you can see above, it can also damage the brass when you are tamping the shell into the cylinder. The whole process is just a giant pain in the ass and I hated it.

But after getting the brass into the cylinder, you still have to trim it and extract it.

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Trimming the case to length is NECESSARY AS HELL if you want a consistent and precision round. Too long of a case is one reason a revolver would jam, and 90% of the reasons that automatics don't feed or extract well.

After you trim the case to its optimal length - you still have to extract it from the cylinder. This requires more tamping - this time from the inside of the case:

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Again, that's more wasted time and more potential damage to the brass case, and still a giant pain in the ass.

So, I made a jig. This is the "phase 1" prototype for testing and to prove the concept - but it works fantastic.

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Yep - I said it was ugly and a prototype. But it works.

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I now simply place the cylinder (all of which have the same outer diameter) in the hole, place the case in the cylinder and lower the press arm down. I took two pieces of copper tubing, welded them together and drilled a hole in the middle so it would pivot. The copper is softer than the brass and wont mar the case. The leverage easily pushes the case into the cylinder.

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Then it's off to the trimmer for a precision trim:

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After trimming, I simply place the cylinder with the trimmed case into the second hole:
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Move the lever to the left and lower - the copper tube pivots to drop into the case -
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Apply pressure and pop the case out of the cylinder:
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I need to refine the design a bit, make it completely out of metal so I can easily clamp it to the reloading bench and possibly re-design the way the case is extracted to I don't have to "flip" it out with my fingers. (Probably some sloped slide that it will roll down into a container) I also need to fine-tune the balance of the copper rod so that it swivels more freely... But this is a hell of a good prototype. :)
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by BullOnParade » Tue May 20, 2014 11:22 am

THAT is cool. I like the design and thought invested in it.
Do you need two sides? Could one hole be used for inserting and extracting the case from the bushing?
Also haven't seen that trimmer before, looks nice, something to consider if I ever have more room to work with.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by cricketdave » Tue May 20, 2014 11:55 am

Are you sizing your brass and lubing before running it into the trimmer?
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by PistolPete » Wed May 21, 2014 9:06 pm

I never trim my pistol brass, I use it until it's too long and toss it, which is often 5 or more loadings. It is a pain and I've so much once fired 9mm, 40 and 38 special it's not worth my time. I haven't had any reliability issues.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:40 pm

Picked up airsoft bb's and a tub of cool whip to try out a dry tumble powder coat for my cast bullets. :) Sounds a bit dirty when I say it out loud.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by majorhavoc » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:42 pm

zombieapocalypsegame wrote:Picked up airsoft bb's and a tub of cool whip to try out a dry tumble powder coat for my cast bullets. :) Sounds a bit dirty when I say it out loud.
It really depends on what you used the Cool Whip for, fella. :crazy:

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by eugene » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:19 pm

I got another lb of powder from a local gun shop last week and ended up ordering another pistol from them :)
Picked up 400 9mm brass and cleaned it.

I measure mine and maybe two of every 50 actually need trimmed, I have the little lee hand trimmer and its sufficient.
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